Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hiring A London Boat - The Sky Is The Limit

Looking for the ultimate venue for celebrations or corporate entertainment in London? A boat on the Thames could be just what you are looking for. There are a plethora of options you can choose from to create the perfect bespoke event. Anything from classic elegance to high energy, modern London party boats for hire.

For entertaining a small party the M.V. Edwardian is a classic beautiful Thames boat with an open upper deck that I believe is perfect for enjoying all the thrilling London sights with your nearest and dearest, accompanied of course by a glass or 2 of champagne! If it is a party with an electrifying twist you are looking for I recommend, the recently refurbished M.V. Erasmus London party boat. It has an exciting multi faceted lighting system and smooth chrome finishes making it in my opinion the sleekest vessel on the Thames, there really is none other like her. If you are looking to entertain a larger number of people, the P.S. Dixie Queen could be the perfect Thames Boat to hire. I have seen her used for everything from ticketed club nights to cooperate silver service events both of which worked brilliantly.

Most vessels have at least 1 fully stocked bar with the capacity to add anything you desire, from your favourite beer to a Pimms reception! When it comes to menu options, the sky really is the limit, as you can have anything from canap├ęs to afternoon tea, to BBQ's to silver service fine dining banquets. Your night really can be tailored to your every requirement.

Entertainment options are just as vast as London party boats have the ability to provide a range of live entertainment, DJ's, magicians or even belly dancers. The professionally trained staff and crew are there to help you with whatever you desire and will constantly strive to make your charter the best yet.

Thinking out of the box? Why not try clay pigeon shooting off the back of the P.S. Elizabethan? If that's not for you why not try a James Bond themed casino night? The boats can be decked out with drapes, balloons, flowers...the list is endless. Anything and everything really is possible.

If budget is not an issue combine several boats, a large London party boat with Thames speed boat and a power boat for added amusement for guests. Moor the party boat at a London pier and small groups can go for high speed blasts on the Thames. A good one for this is the London Thames Jet Boat which provides the ultimate adrenaline ride on the river. There are also many different shapes and sizes of RIB speed boats available including a fleet of 14 which are identical and have a combined capacity of 112 people. Imagine the photographs!

South African born Keith has lived in the south of England for most of his life. After graduating from University with a degree in Business Information Systems Management he decided to start Strawberrysoup; a website design company based in West Sussex and Dorset. Keith successfully gained entry into the Southampton University Air Squadron and spent over 12 months training to fly. Since then he has continued to follow his interest in flying and has now began his own training in the form of a Private Pilot's Licence. Keith also spent 13 months working within the Image and Printing Group at Hewlett Packard in Bracknell. Throughout his time there, he was responsible for many activities including events organisation and website design and maintenance.

Thames: The Biography

In this perfect companion to London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd once again delves into the hidden byways of history, describing the river's endless allure in a journey overflowing with characters, incidents, and wry observations. Thames: The Biography meanders gloriously, rather like the river itself. In short, lively chapters Ackroyd writes about connections between the Thames and such historical figures as Julius Caesar and Henry VIII, and offers memorable portraits of the ordinary men and w

Rating: (out of 12 reviews)

List Price: $ 20.00


London Bridge (Tower Bridge) : Reflection on the River Thames
london thames

Image by Anirudh Koul

Sunday, September 19, 2010

London Fun with Covent Garden Punch and Judy Festival

Punch and Judy have been a bit of a mystery to me, but I have to admit that there is something about silly voices and puppets hitting each other that is appealing. So Kiddos and grown-ups alike may enjoy heading down to the Covent Garden Punch and Judy Festival, which is celebrating a special anniversary this year.

Taking place on October 3rd, this free event is marking the 30th anniversary of the Punch and Judy Fellowship, which is the largest and oldest organisation solely focused on keeping those two famous children’s characters alive.

There are plenty of members of this peculiar institution, which counts as its patron legendary comedian Ken Dodd OBE.

If this sounds like your kind of comedy then travel down to Covent Garden Piazza after 11:00 BST on the day to see a variety of performances of the tale until 16:30.

Guests at London hotels may not be aware of the history of Punch and Judy, a topic which they can no doubt investigate at the festival.

It is widely thought that Punch and Judy originates from 15th-century street theatre, but the first mention of it came in a diary entry by Samuel Pepys from 1662, when he noted that it was being performed in Covent Garden - making the show’s location all the more poignant.

Since then, Punch and Judy has become one of the most stereotypical seaside entertainment shows in the UK and has made millions of youngsters laugh.

Once commonplace at every seaside resort throughout the country, Punch & Judy shows have been entertaining audiences for many generations.

For more information on this London event visit the Website of Punch and Judy or contact the venue on +44 (0)20 7395 3765.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenhegger

Article first published as Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger on Technorati.

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books with its story of tortured and near impossible love. Her Fearful Symmetry also concerns tortured and impossible love, but of a slightly different type. Instead of Time Travel, this time the impossible element is the afterlife and what one ghost does to effect many lives.

Her Fearful Symmetry is set in London and what better place for a ghost story than right next door to Highgate Cemetery? As the story opens a woman dies and she leaves her London flat to the twin daughters of her own estranged twin sister. There are many dark secrets lurking here and there and many mysteries that go unexplained.

The bulk of the story is about the twin girls, who are twenty years old and yet never seem to have escaped childhood. They still do that whole twin thing of dressing alike and they are so close that even sleep in the same bed. As part of the dead Aunt's will, the twins have to live in her London apartment for one year. While there they meet a couple of eccentric neighbors and the ghost of the dead Aunt.

All in all they like being haunted pretty well. With the help of the ghost's old boyfriend, who lives downstairs, they are able to communicate using a Ouija board and automatic writing. Soon they spend a lot of time talking to the ghost-as anyone might.

The ghost is the star of the show, but she gets some serious competition from the OCD upstairs neighbor and the old boyfriend's umpteen thousand page dissertation on Highgate Cemetery. There are walks among the many historical tombs and environs of the cemetery itself.

Since Audrey Niffenegger lives in Chicago that is where the twins come from. And since she is a guide at Highgate Cemetery, she is familiar with the foxes, rundown walls, and unusal tombs. There is also a good deal of talk about how the American twins have a hard time adjusting to life in London and the way the British speak and act. She doesn't mention my favorite bit of Brit Speak aluminum (al-u-min'e-um instead of a-lum-a-num) though she does say A to Zed rather a lot-or maybe that was just reader Biabca Amato using her own South African logic.

There are a lot of balls in the air in Her Fearful Symmetry, a lot of characters with a lot of things to change in their lives. I found that I liked most of the people in Her Fearful Symmetry, though I didn't like the ghost. Even as she lay dying in the opening scene she was a nasty bit of business. There is one big shock that really caught me by surprise and one big shock that I was able to see a couple of miles off. I like them both.

The ending was not all that I would have wanted. I thought there might have been one or two more twists to be had, and that finial scene was a little flat. Overall I liked Her Fearful Symmetry, but I didn't love it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ticket To Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour

I fell in love with The Beatles almost ten years after they had broken up. I never knew real Beatlemania, but I did know the music and it was the Beatles that helped me fall in love with the idea of London.

Larry Kane was reporter who followed The Beatles around on the 1964 and 1965 US concert tours and Ticket To Ride is his recollection of those glory days. He says that he is still asked on a regular basis, so, what where The Beatles really like?

I listened to the audio book version of Ticket to Ride and found it to be absolutely perfect. Read by the author, an old radio and tv guy, Larry Kane knows how to give his words a great delivery and how to bring his stories to life.

The interviews he quotes are a glimpse into the world of the 1960s and how the Lads tended to repeat themselves and say things like-it's a drag, man, you know, it's a drag, it's kind of a bummer, man. The Beatles were amazing as musicians, but their off the cuff remarks show that they were just four guys as well.

Ticket to Ride is filled with stories of rabid fans rushing the stage and surround the cars in mobs that hope to see the Fab Four. Insane fan stories make up a deal of the story, with tales of fans sneaking into hotels and disguising themselves as maids and how often Larry was by a fan that they would do anything to meet the Beatles. He gallantly turns down all these offers.

There are few stories that put the Beatles in any kind of negative light-with Larry's one major gripe about John Lennon being that John was against the war in Vietnam and Larry joins the Air Force. He mentions in passing that the Beatles were living the Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll lifestyle. Women, all of which were over the age of consent Larry points out, were always around and always willing. Drugs from marijuana to 'pills' were a part of the Beatles life, and even 40 years later it is clear that the Beatles disappointed Larry by indulging in such activities.

Above all is the now amusing fact that everyone, even The Beatles, thought they were just a flash in the pan that would soon enough be forgotten. The 1964 Beatles were modest and kind and wanted to make a good impression on everyone.

Ticket to Ride is a fun book that tells us about Larry Kane's Beatles, four men that he really liked and who seemed to really like him.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

London's Old Operating Theatre

The Old Operating Theatre Museum is one of the most unusual museums in London. The Operating Theatre is the oldest in Europe, and the Herb Garret is a unique chance to explore the Roof space of a Church. The Theatre and Garret have recently been restored with its original Georgian plaster free of support frames for the first time since the late 1990's!-The Old Operating Theatre

Ah those crazy Victorians. Back in the good old days medicine was more an art than a science. A bit of herbal mixture and maybe a quick, or not so quick, pass with a saw. I have always had a soft spot for Herbalists and the Herb Garret here seems to be an interesting place for the medicinal plant lover.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret is one of London's specialist museums, offering a fascinating lookt into the medical profession of the past. Hidden in the roof of St Thomas’ Church near London Bridge Underground, this 300-year old herb garret houses Britain’s only surviving operating theatre-complete with wooden operating table and observation stands, from which spectators witnessed surgery performed with no anaesthesia or antiseptics.

The Museum has objects relating to: Obstetrics, Midwifery, Surgical Instruments, Cupping and Bleeding, Nursing and Patient Care, Anaesthesia, Antiseptic surgery, Apothecaries and Herbal Medicine, St. Thomas's, Guy's and the Evelina Children's Hospital. The odds and ends taken from patients bodies include bullets and stones of one sort or another.

The more disturbing items for me are the Scarificator and Brass Cupping Lamp sets used for bleeding patients which are made as if they were actual scientific instruments instead of the worst sort of quack medicine. On the other hand, many of the surgical tools bare at least a passing resemblance to surgical tools of today and some appear completely unchanged. Of course, many also look as if they would be right at home in The Tower's torture chamber.

The Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas's St, London SE1

Phone: 020 7188 2679
Daily: 10.30-17.00
Cost:£5.25; concessions £4.25; under 16s £3
Closed: 15 December - 5 January Telephone the Museum for details and dates of special presentations.

Great savings for the whole family with The London Pass. Get FREE entry to the top London attractions Click here!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

The Royal Academy's annual Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art exhibition. Now in its 242nd year, the exhibition continues the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
-Royal Academy

Not too long ago I saw a little documentary about Mary Cane-Honeysett, a London artist who makes realistic paintings of the rapidly disappearing London that she grew up with. It was an interesting show, which featured Mary making one of her paintings and submitting it to the Royal Academy, only to have it turned down. She then goes to the Exhibition and sees all these odd works of art that she doesn't understand as well as works similar to her own-and she doesn't understand why her paintings are always turned away.

Just as it can be argued that there has not been any real work done in Physics since about 1910, it can be argued that there has been no real art since about 1910 either. Mary's art is old style art, real world, representational reality art, not a random group of rocks or paint spilled onto a raw canvas. So at least part of the charm of the Summer Exhibition is the old saw-Yes, but is it Art?

Being an artist means always facing rejection, until you are accepted, and then you can pretty much do anything. It's that whole getting accepted bit that seems to elude most people. So the whole idea of an Open Exhibition is wonderful, even if it does require a fee and there is still a ton of reject involved. I've always been one of those people who walk around and wonder what the point of most modern art is. I tend to like Modern works of art long after they have ceased to be modern. I'm a big fan of Roy Lichtenstein, now that he has been quietly dead these past few years.

Things You Never Knew About The Summer Exhibition-

Over £70,000 prize money, including the £25,000 Charles Wollaston Award, is awarded each year at the Summer Exhibition.

The Summer Exhibition was first held in a warehouse on Pall Mall from 1769 to 1779.

The hanging of one Gallery by one Academician was first tried in 1976 when Peter Blake filled Gallery II with work by leading contemporary artists of the day, such as Patrick Caulfield, David Hockney, RB Kitaj, Joe Tilson, Ivor Abrahams and Norman Adams. All later became Royal Academicians.

There is something fun about being overwhelmed by walls filled with works of art. It's an old world kind of feeling, but then, London is a bit old world, isn't it? Is it art? Well, if The Royal Academy says it is, then it must be.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

London 10 Quirky Places

London has a lot of quirky spots and quirky tours and quirky people. I found this video on YouTube and it made me smile. I love the feel of it and the silliness of the sped up sections remind me what London feels like at normal speed. The people are always in a hurry, aren't they? And the city is a big place, which comes across nicely here.